Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Monthly box service sends Made in America goods to subscribers.

There are boxes for beauty products. There are boxes for healthy snacks.  There are boxes for arts and crafts. And razors. And coffee. And even boxes for dogs.

Now, there’s a box for American-made goods, too.

State Crate is a new subscription box service that is out to introduce customers to American-made products from around the country. Subscribers receive a box each month that includes handpicked goods from a specific state, along with a guide that shares the stories behind each featured product.

“I’ve always tried to buy American-made,” said company founder Logan Crabtree. “My dad is a veteran and always taught me to have a humble respect for all things USA. I personally do not have anything against foreign-made products, but every time I’m fortunate enough to come across Made-in-USA products, my expectations are exceeded.”

Crabtree got the idea for State Crate after buying soap. Seriously.

In mid-2015, Crabtree began took notice of the many subscription box businesses and wanted to find a niche. Around the same time, he bought soap from Caswell Massey on, in part because he noticed the company’s Made in the USA label.

Crabtree did some research on Caswell Massey and discovered an amazing backstory — the company claims to be America’s oldest operating retailer, with founding fathers such as George Washington among its original customers.

Crabtree shared that story with a few people, who were intrigued by it, too. And that led to a creative spark.

“I started getting obsessed with researching American-made companies,” Crabtree recalled. “From there, I realized that this was the chance to do a subscription box business that nobody else was doing.”

Storytelling is at the heart of each box. State Crate spends a good deal of time looking at a variety of products made in each state and then reaches out to businesses that would be a good fit. Each box includes a “state guide” that provides information about the featured products and the companies that make them.

"I'm very passionate about my country, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for small and large businesses alike that make high-quality products right here in America." Logan Crabtree, State Crate

At first, Crabtree thought about simply shipping American-made goods from a handful of companies each month. But he decided that by giving each box a state-specific theme, State Crate can connect subscribers to the unique culture of each state. “When you go on a road trip, you bring back things that remind you of your experience, so that’s the kind of products that we try to include the most of,” Crabtree said.

And of course, the products are all manufactured in that state. Everything in the box is Made in America, from the boxes themselves to the tissue paper and product. The State Crate logo stamped on the side of the box is even American-made — the stamp is handcrafted in Georgia, Crabtree said.

“These products are made by our neighbors, our friends, and our fellow taxpayers,” he said. “When I buy American, I know what/who I’m supporting. When we include a product in State Crate, I know our subscribers are getting high-quality products with a great story behind them.”

State Crate began accepting its first sign-ups in January, ending up with about 200 subscribers. But news coverage about the company provided a big boost, bringing the subscriber list to about 1,000 people (and quickly growing). The company sold out of its Tennessee-themed State Crates in January, and it looks like it is likely to sell out of the Colorado crate this month as well.

Crabtree admits he has “some pretty lofty goals for State Crate.” He already is looking to the future, as he is planning to open a storefront to allow people to browse and buy American-made products in person. He also wants the president and presidential candidates to acknowledge what he and others are doing to help grow the U.S. economy.

“I’m of course excited that our business is taking off, but I’m much more happy to see that people are starting to get excited about American-made products,” Crabtree said. “I’m just honored that we get to help.”

Visit State Crate online to sign-up. Monthly subscriptions are $46.96, but the company is offering a lifetime discount of $7 each month with the code FOREVER15.